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Phnom Penh


How to get a visa for Burma in Phnom Penh

Recently Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy, said that they would begin to support responsible individual tourism, ending their years-long opposition to visitors in Burma (Myanmar).

And you thought the embassy queue was bad. Refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border.

And you thought the embassy queue was bad. Refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border.

And now that Myanmar Airways International flies from Siem Reap to Rangoon every Wednesday and Saturday, Cambodia is an easy gateway to Burma. Since Siem Reap does not have a Burmese embassy, secure your visa in Phnom Penh before heading out.

To get a 28-day tourist visa, you need the following:

– 2 completed visa application forms
– 2 passport-sized photos
– a passport valid for at least 6 months
– $20 (payable when you pick your visa up)

The 28-day visa is valid for three months. Processing time takes two weeks, and express service is not available.

If you work at a large NGO, at the UN or any other organisation that the Burmese government might find questionable, it is advised that you bring a letter from your employer stating the purpose of your visit. I was told that this would speed the visa application process along, and if you work for one of these organisations, you may not get the visa without a letter. If you don’t work for an NGO or other suspect organisation, bringing a business card may still be helpful.

Recent applicants have advised that regardless of your type of employment, bringing a letter with proof of employment (or previous employment) may be required. So if you want to be safe, have a letter ready when you go to apply.

Although getting a visa for Burma is said to be relatively easy in Phnom Penh, and the following is not strictly necessary, it can also be helpful to write up a copy of your travel itinerary and bring copies of your flight itinerary. Remember, issuing the visa is entirely at the discretion of the embassy, and they can refuse to grant it for any reason. So plan ahead and bring as much information as possible to try to get your visa application process to go smoothly.

Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
181 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh.
T: 023 223 761

The office hours of the Myanmar Embassy are Monday to Friday, 8:00-12:30 and 14:00-17:00.

About the author:
Previously, Lina has been based in Oakland, California, New York City, Dublin and London. Lina spends most of her time thinking about food, travel and synthpop. She's currently based in Siem Reap.
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